chicago vegan mania!

i took a little break after vegan mofo ended, but now i hope to stay in a somewhat regular posting rhythm again… we’ll see how it goes!

on saturday we made the trip down to chicago so we could check out chicago vegan mania for the first time (this was their third year). it was held in a giant old park fieldhouse; a really neat space, even though i daresay the vegans of the greater chicago area seem to be outgrowing it! we arrived somewhere in the neighborhood of 11.30am and it was totally slammed–some rooms it was really tough to even navigate through at all, so i went back for a second lap later on.

there was a food court with eight restaurants, and then there were a few additional vendors scattered in other rooms so you were never too far from a snack. our first stop was the food court (duh) because i wanted to try and plan out my eating. we were going to head over to the new chicago location of native foods after we’d had our mania fill, so i needed to be strategic. a day or two earlier, upton’s had tweeted that they were going to have nachos — which i’d been craving for weeks and hadn’t shut up about — so i kind of made a beeline to their table and ignored all the rest. i’m a jerk, but a jerk who ate some frickin’ delicious nachos:

omg nachos!

crispy tortilla chips smothered in food for lovers queso and then topped with a generous helping of upton’s chorizo. OH MY GOD, you guys. they were amazing. and the best part was that my husband foolishly ate a normal breakfast that day (i had skipped it entirely), so he wasn’t hungry yet and i got them all to myself. heaven.

after that, we wandered through the exhibit halls. the first one held the chicago soydairy table, which: sample nirvana. i got to taste two quesadilla slices (i grabbed one, but it was still attached to a second one, so… whoops!), a couple of bites of mac & cheese, a few chips with nacho sauce, and a squishy fresh marshmallow. yum. there was also pizza, but i was starting to feel like a glutton, so i moved along. there was also a native foods table in that hall, where i got to sample a boogie bar, which has stuff in it i wouldn’t normally want, but it was actually quite good.

the larger exhibition hall held a bunch of my pals: the vegan chicago table, the herbivore table, and the vaute couture table. it was really great to see leanne; i hadn’t seen her since she moved away to new york, so it was really great to hang out with her, force-feed her some lunch, and catch up on all the latest. ❤

there was also a “culture cafe” on the second floor, and delicious cafe was selling coffee and bakery there, so of course i had to get something. i decided on the mini-pumpkin whoopie pie:

my first whoopie pie

i had never had a whoopie pie before, and i love me some pumpkin, so i went for it. verdict: why i have i never had a whoopie pie before?! they’re insanely delicious!! i hereby resolve to eat whoopie pies whenever they are offered to me.

i think that about did it for what we ate at vegan mania; like i said we were trying to save our tummy-real-estate for native foods. i’ll cover that in a separate post but for now, let’s just say saturday was quite a treat. i get such a huge kick out of being places with tons of other vegans; where you don’t have to ask about the food; where you can just partake of absolutely anything you like. love, love, love it. OH! i also learned today (from their facebook page) that although 2500(!) vegans attended on saturday, they only created FIVE bags of garbage. five. they had a green team who went through everything to make sure things were recycled, composted, etc. and i am seriously so far beyond impressed i don’t even think there’s a word for it. rock on, chicago vegans.

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